Objective: To examine changes in pain experienced, changes in functional ability and degree of patient satisfaction with chiropractic care. Patient characteristics influencing these parameters were also explored.
Design: A follow-up study consisting of a questionnaire to be completed at the beginning of treatment and a mailed questionnaire 6 wk later.
Setting: Non-random sample of 13 chiropractic practices in Calgary and Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.
Patients: Three hundred sixty-nine patients presenting with neck and/or back pain who saw a chiropractor for the first time or who had not seen a chiropractor for a period for 6 months before the first visit.
Results: Pain relief and changes in functional ability were greatest among patients whose initial pain or disability level was moderate or severe. No significant improvement was found among those whose initial level of pain or disability was mild. Pain relief and improved functional ability was greatest among those with an acute condition and those who saw no one other than the chiropractor during treatment. In addition, pain relief was highest among men, those who perceived themselves to be in good or excellent health and those who had completed treatment in 6 wk. Patients positively endorsed all items on the satisfaction questionnaire, indicating a high level of satisfaction with the care they received. Patients were most satisfied with access to chiropractic care and least satisfied with financial aspects. Improvement in pain and in back and neck disability were significantly related to general satisfaction.
Conclusion: Based on these results, it seems that patients suffering from back and/or neck complaints experience chiropractic care as an effective means of resolving or ameliorating pain and functional impairments, thus reinforcing previous results showing the benefits of chiropractic treatment for back and neck pain.